Scott Boras, Matt Harvey’s agent, talks about Harvey’s health as he enters free agency and what he saw from Harvey during his time with the Reds.
Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati Enquirer
“I was young and I didn’t know what to do, when I saw your best steps stolen away from you. . .’’
I got dem ol’ Hot Stove Blues again, mama.
Remember when the offseason was fun? I do. Barely. I remember in 1977, when my then-beloved Pirates traded Portsmouth’s own Al Oliver to Texas for Bert Blyleven, who went on to help the Buccos win the Series two years later.
I remember when the Reds traded Dave Parker for Jose Rijo (’87), Reggie Sanders for Greg Vaughn (’99) and of course traded for Junior. The Reds were playas back then. Now?
The hated Cardinals add Paul Goldschmidt for not a whole lot. Unless you’re a huge Luke Weaver fan. Nineteen games against Goldie now. Great.
Used to be, hopes waited until July or so before they were dashed. Now, it’s pretty much an all-year deal. The big-money teams do all the big dealing, because they’re the only ones who can afford the players being dealt. A big deal here this offseason would bring a middling starting pitcher, and even that transaction would involve cash, not players.
With all the rumors flying, has anyone heard of any involving Reds players? Senzel or Trammell, or even Scooter Gennett? Not a one. I don’t count idiotic suggestions that the Reds are “in on’’ Keuchel or Bumgarner. Or what a great addition Bryce Harper would be. The Biltmore House would look great in my backyard, too.
Hot Stove is just another casualty of MLB’s failed system.
Meantime. . .
CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT. . . An AP story on the issues confronting MLB touched again on teams trying to win, and teams not trying to win:
Players have taken to calling the process tanking, while management calls it the type of normal rebuilding that has been going on throughout Major League Baseball’s history. There were three 100-loss teams this year for the second time since 1985 and eight 95-loss teams for the first time in big league history.
“Last offseason, the union filed a grievance against four clubs that it claimed were not trying to win,” said MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, citing a case against Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. “One of those clubs made the playoffs, another club won 90 games and a third club was in contention through the trade deadline. I don’t think the players’ association has any credibility on opining on how clubs will perform.”
Both sides are right. This issue is at the heart of MLB’s failed economic system. The Reds have been tanking/rebuilding (both sides of the same coin) since they traded Cueto. The Mariners and D-Backs are just getting warmed up.
There is no incentive to spend lots of money to get better, when getting better means winning 80 games instead of 70. That’s about where the Reds are now.
Do the Reds have the money? Depends on how you define it. As with every other team in pro sports, the Reds real money is in the asset itself. The club the Big Man bought for $270 mil is now worth close to $1 bil. But that’s not cash on hand.
That said, MLB is awash in cash. And just wait ‘til legal gambling gets rolling. Interest soars when gambling is involved. Ain’t that right, March Madness?
Teams don’t rely on your butts in their seats to do well, and haven’t for awhile. That’s why even a sorry, no-account team like the Marlins can still be worth a billion dollars. The Reds could borrow against the equity on their asset if they really wanted to. They don’t. No one does.
Winning big isn’t needed to be highly profitable these days. The Bengals have known this for years. And acted upon it.
IF YOU READ JUST ONE THING TODAY. . . Make it this interview with Bruce Springsteen, in Esquire. It’s a gentle look at a very decent man, the scars he wears and the shortcomings he has squarely faced. Broooce is on the cusp of turning 70, believe it or not. If you don’t believe that with age, comes wisdom, read this story. Here’s a morsel:
If you had to say, “Here are the qualities you should seek to instill in your young man,” what would you say?
“The funny thing is . . . if you’re present from when they’re young and if you comport yourself even reasonably well, they pick up a lot of healthy habits. And that discussion happens implicitly. By your behavior at home and how you treat your partner and what they see. I by no means have been perfect. But if you give a reasonable presentation of yourself, a lot of that occurs implicitly.”
(And, did I really use the word “morsel’’? Jeez. One of the worst words in the English language. Right there with “moist’’.)
I WATCHED ONLY A LITTLE OF HW’S service Wednesday. Saw a lot more of it on various news channels last night. This is who we can be when we focus on decency, kindness and respect. Bush the elder wasn’t an especially good president. By the time he ran for a 2nd term, he couldn’t even articulate why he still wanted the job.
But we never doubted his respect for the office. We never wondered if he put the interests of the country ahead of his own. We knew he did. He was a good human being.
HW was responsible for the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was basically the Civil Rights Act for folks with physical and intellectual disabilities. It mandated a “free and appropriate education’’ for students such as Jillian Daugherty. It gave her as equal a chance as possible to become a successful citizen of the world. I don’t know where Jillian Daugherty Mavriplis would be today without it. Certainly not married and living entirely independently.
The current president’s Secretary of Education didn’t even know what IDEA was when she took office. She gave a lot of money to the Republican Party, though.
RIP, George Herbert Walker Bush. We miss your decency, compassion, empathy and patriotism.
AN EARLY (NO DOUBT FAULTY) TAKE ON THE SHOOTOUT. . .
I think Xavier has more scoring options and versatility.
I think UC will really benefit from the game being at 5/3, given the Musketeers have folks who’ve never played key roles in this game when it’s been away from Cintas.
I think Xavier needs to protect the ball and play a lot of zone, because other than Cumberland, who shoots them out of it?
I think the Bearcats need to rebound like their scholarships depend on it. Offense from defense is always UC’s ticket.
I think both teams will be a lot better in March than they are now.
I think Trevon Scott is a huge key to UC’s season. I think Quentin Goodin can be Xavier’s most important player.
If it comes down to a last shot, I think I want Jarron Cumberland.
I think there’s a decent chance it comes down to a last shot.
I think the few remaining bleachers in the redone gym will belong to Xavier fans.
I think the game doesn’t need star players to have star power.
I think without JP Macura, Mick Cronin’s blood pressure will stay at a reasonable level.
I still think this game deserves way better than December 8.
AND NOW, a VERY COOL GIFT NOTION FROM FUNMASTER BRIEN…
Christmas shopping can be quite the ordeal. However, I have found something that will not only yield a good gift but will be entertaining as well.
Neusole Glassworks is offering an “ornament blow” this Saturday and Sunday, as well as the following weekend. Neusole Glassworks, on Kemper Springs Drive, is the only hot-glass studio open to the public in Cincinnati. These professional artists can create absolutely stunning shapes and colors by melting glass down and sculpting it. You can watch them do it, then the demonstration ends with you having a completely original Christmas gift to give a loved one.
These glassblowers will help you turn molten glass into a shiny new ornament. The process takes about 15 minutes and you can pick up your finished glass ornament within a week.
If you are not very interested in making your own ornament, the glassworks is still a great option for gifts. All of the artists working there have creations available for sale. There are, for example, some beautiful Christmas tree pieces or you can have custom, inscribed ornaments made. They also have non-holiday works as well, including commission pieces and glass repair/restoration. Call 513-751-3292 or email [email protected] to make reservations.
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . I stumped a few folks with yesterday’s lyric. (It Wasn’t Me, George Thorogood, ckitout.) I hope to stump a few more today. It’s a very personal line and tune for me, as it reminds me of Jillian’s birth and the brief burst of sharp panic it caused.